IMR Press / FBL / Volume 27 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.31083/j.fbl2701029
Open Access Review
Penetrating cardiac injuries: literature review and analysis of the forensic approach
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1 Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Legal Medicine, University of Foggia, 71122 Foggia, Italy
2 Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic and Orthopedic Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy

Academic Editor: Graham Pawelec

Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2022, 27(1), 29;
Submitted: 27 August 2021 | Revised: 13 December 2021 | Accepted: 15 December 2021 | Published: 18 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation in Forensic Pathology and Forensic Genetics)
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Penetrating cardiac injuries represent an increasingly frequent type of trauma in clinical and autopsy practice. The present study aims to review the specialist literature of the last decade (2010–2020) to assess whether the main features of these lesions have changed compared to previous years. The following characteristics were considered: sex, age, cardiac structure involved, execution or not of surgery and postoperative survival, hemodynamic stability, circumstances and mechanism of production, injury and cause of death. Furthermore, the authors propose a practical appraisal of penetrating heart injury in which death was due to a delay in rescue. In line with the data obtained from the practical case, the review showed that compared to the past, the differences concern especially the mortality rate. This paper highlights that the forensic pathologist who approaches a case of transcardiac injury must consider that the circumstances of death are not always attributable to accidental events, attacks or suicides, but may also be due to clinical malpractice or failure to rescue.

Penetrating heart wounds
Transcardiac injuries
Duty to rescue
Fig. 1.
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